Fairfax journalists vote to strike

sm mediaEditorial staff at Fairfax sites in Melbourne, Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle have this afternoon voted to strike for 36 hours in protest over the company's plan to move some editorial production to New Zealand.

“Sub-editors are journalists and the heart of the newsroom.They should always be embedded in the community to enable the newspaper to tell the local story accurately,” Alliance federal secretary Chris Warren said.

“The company’s proposal to outsource more than 60 key editorial jobs to New Zealand has justifiably caused serious concern amongst journalists and members of the communities they work in.”

Yesterday Fairfax Regional Media announced it is proposing to relocate the editorial production positions of the Illawarra Mercury, Newcastle Herald and seven associated community titles – the Lake Times, Kiama Independent, Newcastle Star, Myall Coast Nota, Port Stephens Examiner and Lakes Mail – to Fairfax Editorial Services in New Zealand.

The proposed editorial changes will affect a total of 56 FTE positions, and a total of 66 staff, who will be offered voluntary redundancies or redeployment.If insufficient staff accept voluntary redundancy or cannot be redeployed then management have informed the Alliance that staff will be made redundant.

The Alliance has rejected the company’s proposals and believes relocating key editorial staff offshore will only inhibit the newspapers ability to tell quality local news, the very reason for the papers existence.

“This is a very dangerous step for Fairfax to be taking,” said Warren. “There has been no experience in Australia of companies making the decision to offshore such a central part of the newspaper and this can only destroy the vital nexus between the newsroom and the community.”